Released by WVNET PRESS RELEASE FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Roxann Humbert, 293-5192, Ext. 272 Fax: 293-5540 Morgantown, WV, -- The Internet of the future is expected to be 1,000 times faster, and West Virginia Network (WVNET) will help to make it happen. WVNET, the state higher education computing network, has been accepted as an affiliate member of the Internet 2 project, which is charged with creating a next generation Internet capable of supporting the rapidly-expanding needs of the national research and higher education community. WVNET and more than 100 other higher education institutions and networks in the country have joined forces to develop and evaluate new applications which fully exploit the capabilities of broadband communications, including real-time multimedia collaboration, distant and lifelong learning, and visualization. The Internet 2 project will be conducted in phases over the next 3 to 5 years. The early phases will be limited to research and development activities. New technologies will be deployed across the educational community in later phases. WVNET previously helped to develop the regional high-speed SEPSCOR network connecting supercomputer centers in six southeastern states, and collaborated with Bell Atlantic, the Governor's Office, and the Distant Learning Coordinating Council to create a high-speed state unified network (SUN) within West Virginia. This newly-created statewide network will unify eight different networks into one high-speed information highway serving higher education, K- 12 schools, libraries, government and health care institutions. It will also be linked to other interstate high-speed networks such as Internet 2 through the efforts of WVNET. WVNET is the main provider of Internet access within the state of West Virginia and has served the state for over 20 years, For more information, call 293-5192 or point your Web browser to the Internet 2 home page: http://www.internet2.edu/index.html.